This is long and rambling. Read it if you wish.
There was a bit of surprise and disbelief going around when Tyler and I publicized that we'd decided to get a piece of paper signed and stamped by a justice of the peace that said the word 'married' on it. Tyler himself was surprised when I brought up the subject as an option, since he was used to thinking of it as something I would consent to do at some far distant future time, surprised, but kind of happy I think. I have been thinking about writing my reasoning, both pros and cons, here... for anyone who's curious.
1 - First of all, I will address the question only Robert was bold enough to ask. NO, not pregnant. As I told him, if I was pregnant I would have been making an appointment with planned parenthood, not the courthouse. This is true even now that I am married. My womb is a child-free zone.
2 - never wanted a wedding. The thought of throwing a wedding, even one as low-key as William and Natalie's wedding, made me feel queasy. I am not a crowd person. Once Isaac and Josh eloped, and John and Jackie started talking about how they had gotten hitched at the courthouse, I kind of realized that I didn't have to have the wedding, or the dress, or the expense, or the fuss and ridiculousness. This made getting married much easier to contemplate.
3 - it's what you make of it... this section might get a bit convoluted. I realized, years ago, that I was not comfortable with feminine stereotypes and gender roles. There were two options, both viable. I could decide that I was, therefore, not female and go in search of another word to describe myself; or I could decide that the gender dichotomy is stupid and I am what I am and I could like many aspects of my femaleness and feel free to change other things, to be exactly what I am and want to be and not what anyone tells me I am supposed to be. I chose the second option. I still refer to myself as female, that being the easiest and closest thing, but I tend to feel a bit separate from either of the commonly recognized genders. I am what I make of myself.
I kind of feel the same way about my relationship with Tyler. I know for some people getting married is a huge life-changing step, but it isn't for us, and that's a good thing. We have been together for eight years, we've had some rough patches, we've had many more fantastic patches, we love each other, and we are committed to this relationship. This isn't going to change because of a piece of paper.
3a - connotations. I don't like the word 'wife' even more than I didn't like the word 'fiance'. I am perfectly ok if others want to use it to describe themselves or their spouses, but don't throw it at me. I do not like the historical context of subservience and domesticity. The word comes with expectations of 'settling down' and 'starting a family', neither of which describes me at all. I would much rather be 'partner' than anything else. It has a feeling of equality to it absent in more traditional words, it is gender neutral (see above gender discussion) and has no archaic connotations. It was at college when I first found wonderful feminists using this word to describe their committed relationships, and I liked it right off the bat. Knowing that I don't have to use words I don't like and don't describe me makes the thought of getting married much more pleasant to contemplate, much more comfortable to live in.
4 - taxes. Seriously, if you go get a piece of paper signed by a justice of the peace they take less tax moneys away from you. SCORE! Also other organizations (employers, schools) are more likely to recognize your relationship and work harder to accommodate your partner. This is good.
5- equality. I feel strongly that all those in a consensual, committed, loving relationship who wish to be married should have the right to do so, not just those who happen to have been born heterosexual. For a long time I thought I would not get married until everyone could. Clearly I didn't wait. I feel bad about that.
6 - 'winning' vs my mother. Anyone who knows my mother knows this is an impossible task. I finally realized that getting her to recognize and accept Tyler and my relationship was never going to happen, and the only way I would ever 'win' was by outliving her... meaning that I would have to wait to get married to Tyler until we were in our 80's. This was not something I wanted to do. I still resent this, but not so much that it will be a problem, I think. I look forward to having Tyler and my relationship recognized for a change next time I visit.
Ok, imaginary folks who actually read this whole wall of text, I would love to hear from you. Agree? Disagree? Post a comment and we can talk. Debate is awesome.